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Ex-executive pleads to child-porn charges

A former human resources director for The Washington Times pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to possession of child pornography and online child exploitation.

In accord with a plea agreement, Randall Casseday, 53, could be sentenced to 7 years in prison and supervised release of no less than 10 years and up to life. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly must approve the plea agreement before imposing a sentence on Feb. 15.

The Times terminated Casseday’s two-year employment a week after his arrest at 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 26.

Yesterday, Casseday said in court that pictures of his and a young girl’s private parts were sent and received on his laptop computer. Officials for The Times cooperated with police by securing the laptop and other possible evidence in Casseday’s office.

Casseday was arrested after a two-hour online conversation with a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Instead, it was an undercover D.C. police detective, using photographs seized in previous child-pornography investigations.

Smoke prompts embassy evacuation

The German Embassy was evacuated yesterday after a worker used the building’s central vacuum system to suck hot embers from a fireplace.

Smoke spread throughout the building, but fire was contained in the vacuum canisters, said Alan Etter, a fire department spokesman.

The employee apparently had attached a cleaning tool to a wall inlet for the system and then let the powerful vacuum go to work on the embers, he said.

“You shouldn’t do that,” Mr. Etter said. “If you have a central vacuuming system in your home, don’t use it to dispose of ashes.”

Firefighters were called to the building in the 4600 block of Reservoir Road Northwest about 12:30 p.m.

Mr. Etter said there was no structural damage to the embassy and that employees were allowed to re-enter the building after an hour.

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